How competitive is the Nursing Degree scene?



As trained professionals who deal with life and death situations, and play a vital role in ensuring patients are healthy, licensed nurses are constantly in demand. Because of high demand for and a nationwide shortage of qualified nurses, nursing has become a highly competitive field. Going into nursing is often recommended to new students and college-ready students. Before you make the first step, get the facts and learn how you can get an edge in this competitive and rewarding career.

Why are Nursing Degrees so competitive?

Getting a nursing degree is competitive for several reasons. Let’s face it, the stakes in a medical facility are very high, so schools are going to make sure their students are of the highest academic quality. This step weeds out many applicants. Wanting to become a nurse isn’t automatically a guarantee that you’ll be accepted.

All nursing programs require that students complete not only general education and nursing courses, but also complete a clinical education. The clinical education comes in the form of clinical rotations in hospitals or similar medical facilities. Unfortunately, clinical space in these healthcare settings is limited because the best education is provided when there is a low student to faculty ratio.

How to get the edge and be competitive?

Despite hearing how so many individuals want to be nurses, not everyone is able to get this accomplished. Let’s use the associate degree in nursing as an example. Getting into college is one thing, getting into a nursing program is something else entirely. Associate degree nursing programs have many admission requirements beyond the school’s general admission requirements.

Associate degree nursing (ADN) programs require students to take certain courses, such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, human growth and development, and nutrition. Additionally, they must have taken high school chemistry, biology, and certain general education courses.

These are not taken during the nursing program but are usually required for admission into the program. With so many students trying to get into the program, it’s important you get the edge. Here are some tips to help you stand out:

  • Get the prerequisite courses out of the way.
  • Ensure that your GPA meets the program and school’s requirements.
  • Make sure the program courses you choose count towards the degree. Some online nursing programs have different requirements or count different general courses in a different way.
  • Take medical courses that may work in other medical programs in case you’re not accepted.
  • Make sure the program credits are transferable towards a higher degree.


Are Bachelor Programs more competitive?

If you thought the ADN program had requirements, the bachelor degree program has more. Be prepared to take the same prerequisite courses as the ADN plus even more. The required GPA is higher than with the ADN program. Here are some ideas to help you be competitive when applying to a bachelor degree nursing program.

  • Visit the school to see what will be expected of you and talk with the nursing program advisor.
  • Consider doing volunteer work.
  • Write a good essay. The essay can play a large part in proving your worth and commitment.
  • Get your application in on time.

Make your application stay on top

Even if you meet the above requirements, your application may still be overlooked unless you make it stand out above the others. Consider the following tips.

  • Do some volunteer work in a medical facility or shadow a medical professional for the experience.
  • Look for research opportunities that may put you in a learning environment.
  • Get the best possible grades on your required subjects.
  • Join activities and professional organizations. These do look good on your application and resume.


Nursing is a field that is not only respected but also extremely necessary. U.S. News and World Report ( ranked registered nurses as 17th among the nation’s best healthcare jobs and 22nd among the best jobs for 2017. The best way to help ensure your entrance into this rewarding field is to take all the measures possible to be competitive and as ready for your training program as possible.


Eileen O’Shanassy

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